T & S Brass Faucets
Review & Rating
2 Saddleback Cove
Travelers Rest, SC 29690
T & S Brass
Footnotes:1. The term lifetime is not defined, which means the term will usually be interpreted to mean the actual lifetime of the original owner. .The cost of uninstalling a defective faucet and shipping it to the factory, and the cost of shipping the replacement parts or replacement faucet back to the customer is the responsibility of the customer.
This Company In Brief
T & S Brass and Bronze Works was founded on Long Island in 1947 by George Theisen. Its initial product was the pre-rinse commercial kitchen faucet, invented by Theisen that same year. The company moved to South Carolina in 1978. It is still owned and managed by the Theisen family. The current CEO is Claude Theisen, and its marketing director is Eva-Marie (Theisen) Fox, two of several children of the founder.
T&S Brass manufactures and sells faucets, fittings, and specialty products and accessories for food service, industrial, and laboratory markets. It manufactures its own faucets, but not necessarily in the U.S. It opened a factory in Shanghai in 2004 that manufactures T & S products primarily for the growing Asian market, but also supplies components to the South Carolina plant. We have found no evidence of finished faucets being imported from China. Several thousand T & S Brass products qualify under the Buy America Act. Not all of these are faucets, but almost every faucet qualifies. The Buy American Act requires that a product complying with the Act (1) be manufactured in the U.S. and (2) and that at least 50% of its components also be manufactured in the U.S.
Most faucets are truly made in U.S.A. and meet the stringent rules for advertising made in U.S.A. status established by the Federal Trade Commission, which requires:
- The faucet's last assembly take place in the U.S. That assembly must be transformative, that is, the product becomes a faucet as a result of the assembly whereas before the assembly it was not a faucet.
- All or substantially all of the parts and components used in the faucet were also made in the U.S.A. The Commission permits minor parts and components from other countries under its de minimus rule. Any foreign content must be very minor and not critical to the functioning of the device. For example, the "hot" or "cold" button on a faucet handle, but not the handle itself.
T & S does all of its design and engineering in house, and will design and engineer a faucet for special requirements, for a price, of course.
The company invented the pre-rinse faucet, a style now found in almost every commercial kitchen and in a growing number of private homes. It is, in many ways, still the backbone of its line of commercial faucets. T & S makes more of them in more variations than any other manufacturer, including the gantry-style pre-rinse faucet shown above.
Many of the T & S pre-rinse units are not suitable for home use. Some are too tall (taller than the ceiling in most kitchens) or require more water pressure than is normally found in a residence. But, T & S has a line of low profile units that rival for quality and function any pre-rinse faucet made by any other company — a brass, chrome and stainless unit for under $400.00 (street price, from most sellers). These are hulking, massive, heavy duty, industrial faucets, weighing up to 20 lbs., designed and engineered to take a lot of abuse, and that's exactly what they look like.
The company does not make any single handle faucets. All of its faucets are the traditional two-handle style. Its standard cartridge is the quarter-turn Eterna, a compression cartridge that requires just 1/4 of a turn of the handle from full-off to full-on. Despite the implication of its name, it is not an eternal cartridge. Or, if it is, it is being short changed by the company warranty which guarantees it against defects for just one year. By comparison, the Quaturn™ compression cartridge made by its rival, the for its commercial faucets is guaranteed for 5 years.
Neither company's guarantee includes replacing the compression seat washer from time to time, which is considered ordinary maintenance, not a defect. Compression valves like the Eterna are often the preferred valve in restaurant, hotel and institutional kitchens where the ease of replacing the seat washer outweighs the nuisance of having to replace it more often. An Arby's or McDonald's kitchen cannot shut down for a day waiting for a replacement ceramic cartridge to arrive by FedEx, it needs to be able to get a malfunctioning faucet working again right now, and replacing the compression seat washer — which typically takes about 10 minutes and uses parts carried in every plumber's tool box — usually does the trick.
For residential use, however, a more maintenance-free ceramic cartridges is normally preferred. The T & S upgrade cartridges is a ceramic stem cartridge that it calls the Cerama. This cartridge is guaranteed for a lifetime and is available as an option in every T & S faucet.
(For a more in-depth look at faucet cartridges, go to Faucet Valves & Cartridges.)
The company makes dozens of faucets aimed at special requirements, including faucets for laboratories, pet grooming salons, convenience stores and health care facilities - faucets you will rarely see in a house, like wash-down reel units, glass fillers, tin-lined faucets with snap-on hose connectors for chemical laboratory use and handles with wrist blades for hospitals.
The T & S web site is aimed at the architects and engineers that specify faucets for commercial uses, and is filled with details about each faucet. These include comprehensive specifications, dimensioned drawings, installation instructions, the standards to which the faucet has been tested and certified, the material from which the faucet is manufactured, flow rates available, handle options, aerator options and any special features. The extent of detail provided is a model which other faucet companies would be smart to follow.
There is no choice of finish, however. All faucets are finished in heavy chrome and only heavy chrome except for a few utility faucets plated in rough zinc.
The weak spot in an otherwise sterling operation is the company's faucet warranty. Most faucets are guaranteed for just three years, far below the North American standard lifetime warranty, and below the five-year warranty offered by most other manufacturers of faucets for commercial use. The Eterna compression cartridge is guaranteed for just one year. And, while the Cerama ceramic cartridge is warranted for a lifetime, the term is not defined, so we don't know which lifetime is the measure. Typically courts will adapt its normal English meaning: the actual lifetime of the owner. But, some courts have decided that it means the lifetime of the faucet, which is, essentially, forever. This is, unfortunately, a common mistake in warranties not written by a lawyer, and sometime in those written by a lawyer who needs to go back to lawyer school.
Comparable commercial faucets include those made by the company's chief competitors in the North American market:
All but Central Brass faucets are made in the U.S. Central Brass faucets are made in Taiwan.
If you are in the market for a solid, reliable faucet, especially a pre-rinse faucet, T & S is worth a look. Not particularly stylish, but durable and reliable, T & S faucets will give you years of trouble-free service. If buying a pre-rinse faucet, however, keep these thoughts in mind:
- Commercial sprays put out a lot of water, more than you will want in your home kitchen. Specify a 1.42 gallon per minute (g.p.m.) flow rate, or the faster 4.0 g.p.m. rate, but not any greater or you will have water everywhere. For most kitchens the 1.42 rate will blast all but the crustiest burnt-on food particle from a dish or utensil, but it's splashy. The 4.0 g.p.m. model uses more water but puts out a softer stream that does not splash as readily.
- Always opt for the optional separate spout. Pre-rinse faucets in commercial kitchens are usually at a dedicated pre-rinse sink. With no need to fill the sink, they do not have a spout. In a home kitchen the pre-rinse sink is also the wash-up sink, so a separate spout is needed for filling the sink (and cookpots). Two versions are available, flat and high-arc. The high-arc version is more suited to a home kitchen.
- Some models are stabilized by being attached to the wall behind the faucet with a bracing rod. If you have a window over your kitchen sink, these models will not work for you.
- Choose the ceramic Cerama in preference to the Eterna compression cartridge. Ceramic requires less maintenance and has a longer warranty.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with T & S Brass faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.